So CMJ was the coolest thing to happen that I forgot was gonna happen since the ‘08 free Veggie BBQ FrisbeeFest on campus. And I’m leaving for an environmental conference before it even really gets started.
I saw A Million Years, The Black Taxi, April Smith & The Great Picture Show, and Amber Rubarth. Just a lot of epic talent.
But who I DIDN’T expect to see was Holly Miranda. By chance I got off work early and went home, saw on twitter that this was happening and RAN back to Pianos where she owned it in the way only a complete natural can. This one’s born to do this.
I first saw Holly during a random soundcheck at a gig I was working in July and since then have been SMITTEN. She has a voice that belongs in a 30s jazz club and the songwriting chops that the lovechild of Thom Yorke and Cat Power might have. She is also one of the nicest, most chillax people you will meet or have banter at you from stage.
Once upon a time a peasant had a horse. This horse ran away,so the peasant’s neighbours came to console him for his bad luck. He answered: “Maybe”.
The day after the horse came back, leading 6 wild horses with it. The neighbours came to congratulate him on such good luck. The peasant said: “Maybe”.
The day after, his son tried to saddle and ride on one of the wild horses, but he fell down and broke his leg. Once again the neighbours came to share that misfortune. The peasant said: “Maybe”.
The day after, soldiers came to conscript the youth of the village, but the peasant’s son was not chosen because of his broken leg. When the neighbours came to congratulate, the peasant said again: “Maybe”.
Check me out on the CD Baby DIY musician podcast, talking about Kickstarter and Twitter and The Internet and promotion in general. This is one of my favorite podcasts… so it’s kind of a dream come true that they interviewed me! Go listen!
“Well. That’s the salt in the pepper. It keeps it from getting too vanilla.”—Carlos, 12:24 AM, on the local N train as fellow in a nice leather jacket stuffed with who knows what bounced back and forth between doors trying to escape the way Jim Carrey might.
“Mrs. Hopewell excused this attitude because of the leg (which had been shot off in a hunting accident when Joy was ten). It was hard for Mrs. Hopewell to realize that her child was thirty-two now and that for more than twenty years she had had only one leg. She thought of her still as a child because it tore her heart to think instead of the poor stout girl in her thirties who had never danced a step or had any normal good times. Her name was really Joy but as soon as she was twenty-one and away from home, she had had it legally changed. Mrs. Hopewell was certain that she had thought and thought until she had hit upon the ugliest name in any language. Then she had gone and had the beautiful name, Joy, changed without telling her mother until after she had done it. Her legal name was Hulga.”—
Because sometimes I stay in on a Friday as an experiment to “pamper myself” and find myself not actually relaxing but in upswing-downsing-I-swing-you-swing, stopped only by a rowdy author or a marathon of Benson & Stabler tackling pedophiles.
In documenting my day to day life this might become an accidental music blog. But whatevs. I’ll post my dissertation on post-imperialism and its impact on modern terrorism later.
I’ve been to so many free shows this week by virtue of singing backup for people or being on guests lists or knowing musicians. I have a kink in my neck that I swear is from weird postures at venues in conjunction with footstomping, or just flailing whatever free limb I had available.
Now here’s everyone who’s amazing, GO LISTEN TO THEM NOW.
Flanagan Smith (who always makes me happy and sing with him about how hard times come again no more and could make a church rowdy)
Rachel Browne (their new album is coming out very soon produced by guitarist Andrew Futral of Age of Rockets, and their drummer Christina is a pizza aficionado, and in search of said pizza I almost pulled over a DJs laptop. That was sad. The pizza was good.)
Jess Hodge (Jess and I celebrated our friend-iversary on her 1 year in New York mark. We sang “loving cup” because we are elegant young ladies.)
like, mountains (sometimes people you kind-of-know play shows directly after other people you REALLY know but didn’t know this was happening in the first place and are all surprised and then you stay and hoot and holler and afterwards you know everyone a little better. See, world peace and PBRs.)
Julie Peel (sometimes you meet people at other friends shows and they are actually really talented and write catchy songs and you end up having an escapade with them a few nights later. And for the record Sidewalk Cafe is utterly bizarre after midnight on weekdays. Every time. It’s the actual Twilight Zone.)
Christine Hoberg (sometimes you get a free show on someone’s bed before they go on tour)
Saw the Most Serene Republic at Southpaw tonight with my friend Marc. They had their equipment stolen in Vancouver, and he was able to secure them a trombone for their stop in Brooklyn. We compared maps of how we know people, and he made a bubble chart explained the winding Canadian/New York music scene that connected trombone to band in need. TMSR are amazing, lovely folks backstage, and a real storm of a sound live, with a wild knack for layering instruments and complex beats. I was stunned. They seized 5th Ave for their territory for all I care. GO SEE THEM.
Then to get home, I walked 3/4 of a block. I should have gone in my pajamas.
“Bujumbura - New York, May 1994. He sat on a chair at the baggage claim, his suitcase at his feet, and watched the new world pass by…Almost everyone looked happy. Or at least no one looked alarmed. And no one looked terrified. These people were just going about their business, greeting their friends and their families, as if they didn’t know there were places where dogs were trotting around with human heads in their mouths. But how could they not know?”—
- Ch. 1, Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder.
This is a non-fiction account of a survivor of the Burundian genocide (which borders Rwanda, and was also a Hutu-Tutsi conflict, and occurred several months earlier in 1994) who washes up in New York. It’s breathtaking and makes you wonder what the pizza delivery guy is running from.
People spill things now and then. There was the dog-walker from Puebla who said in 10 years of working in the city no one had talked to him like a person except a crook’d little old lady in the walker. Or the Indian woman who worked the register at Walgreens crying as she scanned our items on a Sunday morning. I usually feel like a 10 year old seeing their parent weep. I smile and say thanks for bagging it so nicely, or hand over a bigger tip. But really something’s rotten in the nation of Denmark but you don’t know what to do about it Hamlet. Crikey.
1. If you admit to your friends that you get a good walking tour of NYC’s bridges during your bouts with depression, if they are good friends, they should respond accordingly:
"Um, as in getting a good view of hurtling yourself off?"
“No! that’s not what I meant…like, just to take myself out of it.”
“No! Like, to put myself in context”
“As in contextualize yourself between the air and water?”
2. My friend Caleb Stine (who’s touring right now, plz go see him thanks), and a brief interlude during a his set the other night. Caleb has this lyric about how when he’s in NYC he just walks and falls in love and gets his heart broken on every streetcorner:
Caleb (strumming guitar onstage) “How do you guys get used it?”
Audience member, “You don’t.”
3. Far flung friends Kristen & Allison from MA, talking about entitlement and the difficulties of filling your tires with air when entitled youths are blocking the air pump at a gas station, and how when you ask them to move they slowly roll down the windows by operating the “down button” with their pinky.
“Clearly they never had to roll down their windows by hand before.”
“Or talk through the one that isn’t taped up.”
4) Nick wants you all to hear this song. I kinda do too.
Oh Lauuuuraaaaaa, this kid’s one of my dearest friends and a constant source of adventure and good council. I can’t count all the activist stuff we’ve conspired together over, or tea, salsa, and falafel we have consumed for that matter. I am super proud like a linebacker team mate to see this. Alright alright!
Read this to have your faith in humanity bashed/restored/bashed/restored/left in a heap wearing an ironic t-shirt.
This is one of the stories (along with Guests of the Nation by Frank O’Connor totally unrelated to Flannery) that hit me so hard that it made me switch to being an English major. Yeah, and that lasted a semester.
“In late January this year, I decided that I was done working a job I wasn’t happy in, living in a city I didn’t want to be in, and not following what I really wanted in life. I decided to give it all up, for just 3 months in New York, just to see what would happen, to see if fate would step in, and step in it did. Eight months later I find myself sat on the Mexican border in a tour bus, playing sold-out shows every night, with a US working visa in my bag, and an apartment in New York, all because I decided to believe in myself, and take a huge risk for something I wanted. Forgive me if this seems a little arrogant, but I’m very proud of myself. If you have a dream guys, that’s right, YOU, then go for it, don’t look back, you WON’T regret it. Just don’t tell your parents that I said it was OK!”—